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  • Job Outlook: The Degrees and Majors Most in Demand

    May 03, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    A group of college students graduate.

    TAGS: hiring outlook, surveys, spotlight

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    While nearly all respondents to NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update plan to hire graduates at the bachelor’s-degree level from the Class of 2017, more than half expect to hire master’s graduates.

    Slightly more than 99 percent of employers indicated plans to hire bachelor’s degree graduates from the current class. Meanwhile, 53 percent anticipate hiring M.B.A.s, and 58 percent plan to hire graduates with other master’s degrees. (See Figure 1.)  

    While these hiring projections are consistent with those reported last year for the Class of 2016, there has been a significant jump in the percentage of respondents hiring graduates with doctoral degrees. More than one-quarter of respondents plan to hire graduates with doctoral degrees, up from just 15.7 percent that had the same plans for the Class of 2016.

    The composition of hires by degree also remains nearly unchanged from last year, with more than 80 percent of new college hires having a bachelor’s degree.

    In terms of demand by academic discipline, graduates with engineering, business, and computer science majors remain most in demand among survey respondents. (See Figure 2.)

    Data for the Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update survey were collected from February 14, 2017, through March 27, 2017. A total of 160 surveys were returned—a 16.7 percent response rate. The Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update report is available to members through MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Hiring Expectations by Degree Level for 2017

    Degree Level Average Percentage of New College Hires Percentage of Total Respondents Hiring
    Associate 13.4% 13.3%
    Bachelor’s 82.0% 99.2%
    M.B.A. 10.8% 53.3%
    Master’s (Other Than M.B.A.) 15.7% 58.3%
    Ph.D. 7.9% 25.8%
    Source: Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Hiring Expectations by Major

    Academic Discipline Percentage of Total Respondents Hiring Discipline Average Percentage of Total New Recruits Within Discipline
    Engineering 75.9% 53.1%
    Business 72.3% 30.3%
    Computer Sciences 64.3% 23.0%
    Accounting 57.1% 17.1%
    Economics 28.6% 8.6%
    Misc. Majors 21.4% 18.0%
    Physical Sciences 20.5% 13.4%
    Communications 17.9% 6.7%
    Social Sciences 14.3% 11.6%
    Humanities 11.6% 5.3%
    Agriculture 4.5% 8.0%
    Education 1.8% 4.5%
    Health Sciences 1.8% 14.0%
    Source: Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update, National Association of Colleges and Employers